Authors: Celestin Mayombe & Antoinette Lombard

Keyword: relevant skills, skills development, technical training, vocational training, South Africa

SDG: SDG4

Agenda 2063: A1, A6

Non-formal adult education and training (NFET) in South Africa is instrumental in breaking the high level of poverty and decreasing the social inequality the country continues to face as a post-apartheid democracy. Public and private NFET centres in South Africa aim to meet the training needs of adults who have been deprived of formal education with courses which foster access to opportunities for skills acquisition and employment and bring about social and economic inclusion. However, many adults who were facing long-term unemployment due to a lack of marketable skills remain unemployed after completing NFET programmes. This paper reports on a study which investigated what constitutes favourable conditions (“internal enabling environments”) for skills acquisition inside NFET centres leading to employment and how they can be improved to contribute to coordinated efforts of increasing NFET graduates’ paid and/or self-employment capacities. The authors found that centres focusing on activities suitable for self-employment during training were more likely to create internal enabling environments for skills acquisition and income generation than centres offering courses designed for entering paid employment. The authors conclude that there appears to be a significant correlation between NFET centres’ training programme objectives, financial resources, trainee selection criteria, the process of training needs assessment, and skills acquisition for successful employment outcomes of NFET graduates. Without these internal enabling factors, adult trainees are likely to continue finding it difficult to integrate into the labour market or participate in economic activities and hence break the cycle of poverty and social exclusion.